RUNNING GAME (B)
Dedrick Mills got out of the gate in a strong manner, with three carries for 21 yards on Nebraska's opening possession. He ended up with 59 yards on 19 carries (3.1 yards per carry). Adrian Martinez got loose for runs of 19 and 28 yards on a third-quarter drive that ended in an interception. The Huskers ended up with 43 rushes for 224 yards (5.2). Those were hard-earned yards.
PASSING GAME (C)
Martinez (12-for-27 for 125 yards) was hot and cold before getting benched. His low moment was a third-quarter interception as Nebraska was in the midst of a promising drive. He essentially was late on his read to the tight end. Luke McCaffrey was 12-for-16 for 93 yards, but his fourth-quarter pick was a killer. True freshman Marcus Fleming gave NU some zip with five catches for 75 yards, and classmate Zavier Betts even got into the act late (two catches, 17 yards).
AGAINST THE RUN (C)
Northwestern racked up 57 yards rushing on its opening possession, including Drake Anderson's 12-yard gain on fourth-and-1. Nebraska tightened up, allowing only 26 rushing yards the rest of the half. But Peyton Ramsey's 16-yard scramble on a third-and-4 early in the second half gave the Wildcats a sizable boost. The home team wound up with 38 carries for 148 yards (3.9).
AGAINST THE PASS (B)
Myles Farmer's first career interception in the second quarter — on an underthrown pass that glanced off Marquel Dismuke's helmet — was a needed boost and led to Connor Culp's field goal to open NU's scoring. Farmer came up big again later in the quarter with a pick and a 37-yard return to the Northwestern 3. In the third quarter, Pheldarius Payne got some heat on Ramsey on key third-and-12. Payne is coming on strong. Meanwhile, Deontai Williams' missed tackle allowed Riley Lees to spin into the end zone. Ramsey was 16-for-27 for 169 yards and two TDs, with the two interceptions.
SPECIAL TEAMS (D)
William Przystup's second punt traveled only 30 yards. That just shouldn't happen, especially on a day when weather was a nonfactor. Connor Culp came through with a 38-yard field goal to get Nebraska on the board, and then a 37-yarder to pull NU to 7-6. However, he did miss from 38. NU also allowed a 36-yard kickoff return to open the second half, and then a 36-yard punt return early in the fourth quarter.
GAME MANAGEMENT (F)
Nebraska broke from the gate quickly, driving to Northwestern's 28-yard line, before back-to-back penalties (offsides, holding) stymied the drive. Matt Farniok, a battle-tested veteran, then was flagged for a false start on the first play of the second drive. Brenden Jaimes, another battle-tested veteran, drew a holding call on the third drive. You get the picture. The Husker were penalized nine times for 55 yards after drawing eight penalties for 90 yards against Ohio State.
Nebraska did enough to gain 442 yards, but going 1-for-6 on touchdowns when reaching the red zone is a major issue. I liked the QB draw call on the first play of the second quarter on which Martinez, with McCaffrey lined up next to him, gained 6 yards. However, it was curious that it was McCaffrey's first appearance of the game. He needs to be on the field more. Didn't like the conservative nature of calling an apparent QB draw for Martinez on third-and-11 at Northwestern's 22. Whatever the call, the play went for 2 yards. Then Culp missed from 38. Frost has to figure out how to get more out of his offense, pronto.
You could hear the disappointment in players' voices. This was a demoralizing performance, and Frost has a lot to think about going forward.
Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.
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